Because so much of 2015 was dominated by our move to Ireland – waiting for it to happen, then packing, and then actually doing it – we didn’t get in as many travels as we did in 2014, but we still managed some pretty fantastic trips.
In January we spent a long weekend in Las Vegas, in February we spent five nights in Hawaii celebrating our anniversary, in April we spent a long weekend with our friends T&S in Southern California, in May we spent a week in Dublin while Alan got acquainted with the office here and we explored potential neighborhoods for our move, in July we spent a long weekend in Sonoma County celebrating the 4th of July, a weekend at Clear Lake with Alan’s family, and then at the end of the month, a week in Maine with my sister and her family and my mom, in September we moved to Dublin, and then in November we sailed down the Danube visiting Christmas markets in Hungary, Austria, and Germany (yes, I still need to finish that trip report). Whew! While it didn’t feel like we did a lot of traveling, that recap tells a different story.
Living in Ireland, we want to travel this small island and see as much of it as possible, while also using it as a springboard for trips throughout Europe. This year there are some places we know we will visit, and others that are possibilities. We know we will be going back and forth to the SF Bay Area more than we had anticipated but I don’t know yet how that will impact our desire to get on a plane as frequently as we had initially thought we’d do. My guess is we’ll do more local trips for awhile since that flight can be exhausting.
2016 Travel Wish List
We’ve already booked this trip and are counting down the days until we leave. We’ll be spending five nights in Venice to celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary next month. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for many, many, many years and I’m ecstatic that we’re finally able to make it happen.
THE DINGLE PENINSULA
This area is one we wanted to visit during our 2009 driving tour of the island but it just wasn’t possible with the amount of time we had allotted and the weather we experienced. I am thinking we might take a long weekend out there later this month to celebrate our 20th dativersary, but the weather we’re having in Ireland these past few months is awfully similar to what the country experienced back in 2009 so I don’t know that now is the best time to make the trip. This time we’d have a Land Rover (versus the tiny BMW we had rented) so driving would be much simpler and less harrowing, but we spent a lot of time on detours and I just don’t know that it’s the smart way to visit this spectacular place.
We’ve been to Islay before and loved it and when we visited in 2013 we promised ourselves (err, well … *I* promised *me*) we’d be back for the festival, Feis Isle, someday. Now that Glasgow is a quick jaunt across the sea, it seems like now would be the perfect time to make that a reality. Which reminds me, I need to contact Bowmore House to see if the innkeepers still have rooms available.
Specifically, Hogmanay. I read a blog post a few years ago from an expat who lived there and when I saw the Torchlight Procession, I absolutely knew that was something I wanted to experience first-hand. I sent it to Alan and he had a similar reaction.
The opening event of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on December 30 is the start of three days of spectacular Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events and last year’s procession welcomed more than 35,000 participants. You can join the Up Helly Aa Vikings, as well as the massed pipes and drums as you help illuminate nocturnal Edinburgh all the way from George IV Bridge through the viewing area of Waterloo Place and to the site of the event finale on Calton Hill. This spectacle finishes with a dazzling fireworks display that whets the appetite for further Edinburgh’s Hogmanay shenanigans to come.
Also, I might be taking a quick trip over to Edinburgh sometime at the end of March, or in early April, to meet up with a couple of friends who will be there so this is definitely going to be a year of Scotland travels. We also want to do a Speyside whisky tour, but I think we’ll push that to 2017.
SCANDINAVIA & RUSSIA CRUISE
After successful cruises with Un-Cruise and AmaWaterways, I think we’re ready to tackle a larger boat with a different sort of itinerary. I don’t know how we feel about the giant boats sailing the Caribbean, but I’ve wanted to visit St. Petersberg for awhile (Alan’s been), and some of the Scandinavian cities seem really interesting, albeit hard to tackle. I think visiting the region this way would be a great, stress-free way to get into Russia without having to worry about all the visa hassles, and then to give us an intro into the Scandinavian countries we’ll want to visit again. At some point, we’d love to do the summer solstice in one of them.
When we knew we were going to be living in the British Isles for at least two years, one of the trips we knew we wanted to take was an extended walking tour on The Cotswolds Way. This isn’t a trip you just up and decide to do one day, so we’re going to need to prepare for it. You typically walk between 8 and 12 kilometers a day, which we can easily do just walking around Dublin for an afternoon, but there is terrain and weather to contend with, and specialized gear that is a bit different than me just throwing on my jeans and a pair of cute boots. This one will take some practice and shopping. I think we’ll likely end up doing a few day or overnight trips out to The Wicklow Way to prepare ourselves for this adventure. With Alan’s 40th birthday being in March, the plan is to head back to the Bay Area and spend it with his family, so maybe I’ll buy him this trip and we’ll take it in August or September.
The other idea I had for his 40th birthday was a trip to Greece. I don’t know that we’ll be able to make it happen this year, but it’s one that I wouldn’t mind striving for. Ideally we’d visit the islands and spend our days in the water and eating delicious Greek food. I haven’t done a ton of research on this one, but I’m thinking Santorini or Mykonos. Tell me, do you have a favorite?
THE AMALFI COAST
This was the year we were supposed to take Alan’s parents to Sicily, but with his dad’s stroke last month I don’t see that happening. It’s something we’ve been looking forward to, but it’s also a trip I wouldn’t want to take without his mom (whose parents were both born there). But … I would really love to see Southern Italy if we could manage to carve out the time. Because this is a wish list and I’m a greedy girl, I’m going to go ahead and throw it on the list. Specifically, I’d love to visit Positano.
Reykjavik has been on my list for several years now, and with so many people I know having recently made the trip, I’ve been inundated with pictures that I can’t get out of my head. I know it’s expensive, and it’s crazy, but I really want us to be able to go this year.
* * * * * * * * *
Okay, okay. I know that’s way more trips than we could ever possibly reasonably take this year, but I hope we are able to at least make *some* of them a reality. What about you? What are your dream trips for the year?